Highlights: Reus and Podolski score for Germany as they are held to a 2-2 draw by Australia
Berlin, March 26 (IANS) During Germany's 2-2 draw against Australia in their FIFA international friendly match, the action on the field was not uppermost in people's minds.
It wasn't going to be a normal football match as the country was in a "state of mourning" after the devastating plane crash in the French Alps claiming 150 victims, 72 Germans among them.
Midfielders James Troisi and Mile Jedinak had the Asian champions up by 2-1 on Wednesday, after German forward Marco Reus's 17th-minute opener. Substitute Lukas Podolski smashed home the equaliser from point blank range.
The German and Australian teams, two of the victims were Australian citizens, honoured the victims with a minute of silence and all the players wore black ribbon on their shirts. Both teams gathered at the centre of the pitch.
"You can't have a clear thought in your mind after what happened, the dreadful plane crash lies over everything. We as a football family pay our deepest respect to the victims and their families," said the German Football Association's President Wolfgang Niersbach on Wednesday.
Germany's coach Joachim Loew started the warm-up against 2015 Asian Cup winners Australia with many of his key players on the bench in order to try new players and new tactics like a three-man defence.
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was sidelined due to a minor knee injury.
Midfielder Toni Kroos was honoured as Germany's "international player of the year" ahead of the start of the match, Loew's team played a 3-5-2 (or 3-1-4-2) system after the coach had announced he would be trying out new systems in order to become more effective against defensively-minded teams.
Germans had problems to control the game and Australia bothered them with their pacy forwards and quick counterattacks. The draw, which pleased Australia more than it did the home team, was the best Germany's "new team" could manage on the day.
Loew used 16 players against Australia including fringe players like Sebastian Rudy (TSG Hoffenheim) and Max Kruse (Borussia Moenchengladbach).
Germany will have to improve next Sunday against Georgia in order to gain points to qualify for the 2016 European Championship in France. So far, the German campaign has not been convincing and they are currently only lying third in the qualifying group.
After winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Germany's form has been far from satisfying. The German game against Australia was more or less the same story as their play lacked organisation.
Before the friendly, Loew pointed out that he was looking for a new left and right back and wants to strengthen the flanks. However, there was nobody in his line-up that looked good enough to fill up the vacant places.
"We today tried a lot of new things and we had many players that didn't play much last month. The aim for the next one and a half years is to get into a rhythm again after the World Cup as we have to find a new team," said Loew.
"The team is aware that we have to improve next Sunday against Georgia. But I have no doubts that we will get into a better shape," said Loew, knowing that his team would look more like the one that won the World Cup in Brazil.